Fort McCoy News Jan. 12, 2018

Early catch-and-release trout season

now open at Fort McCoy

BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Wisconsin's early catch-and-release trout season, which includes Fort McCoy streams and tributaries, opens Jan. 6 and continues until 11:59 p.m. May 4.

Only artificial lures may be used during the early catch-and-release trout season, and all fish caught must be released immediately, said Fort McCoy Fisheries Biologist John Noble with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch. The appropriate Fort McCoy permit, Wisconsin license, and trout stamp are required.

This brook trout was caught at Fort McCoy by an angler in July 2017.
This brook trout was caught
at Fort McCoy by an angler in
July 2017.
Contributed photo

Access to Fort McCoy's trout streams and tributaries is fairly easy. "There are many great trout fishing opportunities available within close proximity of several major roadways at Fort McCoy," Noble said.

Fishing licenses and permits for 2017 are valid through March 31, 2018. A 2018 Wisconsin fishing license, trout stamp, and related Fort McCoy permit will be required April 1.

Licenses can be purchased from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) online at https://gowild.wi.gov. All prospective anglers have to do is create an account at the Go Wild site, select the licenses they need, pay for the licenses, and print them, all online.

Noble said many larger trout, such as brook and brown trout, have been caught in the approximately 71 miles of installation cold-water streams and tributaries. For example, a 3-pound, 19-inch brown trout was caught in Tarr Creek on the installation's cantonment area in July 2017 by an installation angler.

"Our trout fisheries produce decent-sized trout," Noble said. "Milder winters the last few years have helped trout growth as well as continued trout habitat improvement.

"Our trout numbers are continuously improving and they are especially good in Silver Creek, Tarr Creek, and the La Crosse River," he said.

Through a number of resources available online, following are some tips on how to properly catch and release trout:

• When catching and releasing a trout, face the fish upstream in gentle flowing water, preferably in the stream water near the shore and not in fast current.

• When releasing the fish, don't let fish go until it gives strong tail-swimming movements and swims firmly out of your gentle grip.

• Handle trout gently, keeping it in the water as much as possible. Unhooking the trout without lifting it from the water is best.

• Remove hooks with needle-nosed pliers or forceps. Using barbless hooks makes releasing trout much easier.

• If a trout is hooked deeply, cut the line and release the fish. The hook eventually will dissolve, leaving the trout unharmed.

More information about inland trout fishing is available online at the WDNR website at dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/trout. For Wisconsin fishing license rates and regulations, visit dnr.wi.gov/permits/residentlicense.html.

Anglers looking for more information about installation fishing regulations should go to the Fort McCoy iSportsman website at ftmccoy.isportsman.net, or contact the Permit Sales Office at 608-388-3337.